We're committed to helping you
HomeStories in ImagesAbout ACP VisionHistoryLibraryIMAGEThe MarketArchivesContact

Superintendents Conference, Yosemite - 15th, Afternoon Session

The SECRETARY. I think, perhaps, this would be an appropriate time to hear from Mr. Watrous, the secretary of the American Civic Association, who has some matters which we would like to have him present.

Mr. WATROUS. Mr. Secretary, ladies, and gentlemen, one might hesitate to talk before any audience that has listened as we have listened to the eloquence of one who knows the Yosemite as Mr. John Muir knows it. But it happens to fall to me to take that hesitating step. Just to be here in the Yosemite makes one wish either for the gift of eloquence that he might voice his impressions, or for the opportunity to retire to the fastnesses Mr. Muir has spoken of to contemplate in silence the beauty and glory of our surroundings. Most of us will leave the Yosemite without indulging in either eloquence or extended contemplation. I surely shall not attempt eloquence, but simply rise to tell you that it is a very great pleasure to be here this year and to represent the American Civic Association, as last year the same association was represented at Yellowstone Park by our president, Mr. McFarland, to whom our good Secretary made such a pleasant reference yesterday.

I presume I have traveled as great a distance to attend this conference as any of my confères excepting those officially connected with the Government, who also have come from Washington. I am here because the association which it is my pleasure to represent and serve has always taken a very deep interest in the general subject of the preservation of landscape and the development of outdoor art, and especially in our national parks and monuments, which, by wise fortune, have been secured and set aside by legislation for the people of this country and for the people of the world. We are to be congratulated that we are blessed with these parks; that they may be passed down as a priceless heritage to those who come after us this beautiful park in which Mr. Muir has spent so many years. Not only this park, but the Yellowstone, the Mount Rainier, the Glacier, and others, including the monuments. But we are not administering these parks as their worth demands. We are going along the route of least resistance and leaving undone many things that should be done.

If I may indulge in a little vision, it would be that within a very few years there may be other national park conferences, presided over by a Secretary of the Interior—and I could wish that it might be yourself, Mr. Secretary—but with one acting as secretary of the conference who is not a chief clerk of the Department of the Interior but a director of a national parks service, with all the dignity that might go with such a title, and backed by the authority that might be conferred upon him by Congress. In this connection may I pay a tribute—and I think the Secretary will permit me to pay it—to our chief clerk, who to-day is handling a great variety of details that pass through his office? I am not violating any confidence when I say that of all those details he loves best the ones relating to our national parks. Those are the details to which he gives his attention in his hours at home in the evening and after hours at the office in the daytime, for we must remember that the parks under the present arrangement have to receive but such passing attention as can be given them from day to day after a multiplicity of other details are cared for. Patents are issued and expire by limitation; pensions are put on the roll and expire with the sweep of the scythe of time; but the parks are to endure through all time, and we must see to it that they do endure in just as near their pristine beauty as possible, without encroachments of any kind. They must be preserved in their natural beauty. But we must be very practical in their administration.

As I said before, we have been doing things in a hit-and-miss way. There has been no uniformity of legislation. The parks, as you know, are created under a great variety of acts. It is hard to find out just what act creates this park and that park; and the same is true of the monuments. We must have a uniformity of administration for the sake of the larger results we are to get, for the development and maintenance of the parks, and for the sake of efficiency. This subject of efficiency is one that is being brought out very prominently before business men and very prominently before the people of this country, because in the present administration more attention is being given and will be given to the general subject of economy and efficiency than ever before.

Most of you are familiar with the initial steps that have been taken in the creation of a national park service. The American Civic Association, more than two years ago, started out with the idea that there should be such a service. It has been working to that end, and last year in Washington, there was held a most notable meeting in connection with the annual convention of our association, devoted entirely to the subject of national parks. It was attended by many of the people of the East who are some day to go West and visit the national parks. Among those who addressed that meeting were the President of the United States, the Secretary of the Interior, who is our presiding officer to-day, as he was our presiding officer that night; the president of the American Civic Association, Mr. J. Horace McFarland, and in addition there were stories of park life by Mr. Enos Mills, and an illustrated description of some of the parks, by Mr. Herbert W. Gleason, all familiar names to you. As a result of that meeting, attention was directed to the subject of our parks by the newspaper press and the magazine press.

I am not going to tell you just how much letter writing was necessary to get the approval of some of the great monthly and weekly journals, except to say the approval was secured, and if you have read the magazines and the weeklies as well as the dailies, you know that they have been talking national parks in their editorials and in their news columns and that they have been using pictures given them by the Department of the Interior to illustrate those editorials and news items. There is going to be a great deal more of that same kind of work. There were reasons during the early sessions of this Congress for not making a direct effort for the passage of the bureau bill which was introduced in the early days of the session. We believe, however, the time will be ripe when Congress reassembles to urge the passage of that bill, providing for the creation of a national park service. It can be passed if the people of this country will make themselves heard. I am very glad to appear to-day, by courtesy of the Secretary, as a representative of the association which has the machinery in Washington through which you can work to bring about the passage of this bill. We want your cooperation, you men of the West and of the Central States, and of the East. We need it and request it, and we want you to be quick to respond to a call that may come to you some day to direct letters and telegrams to your Members in Congress, stating that it is your desire and urgent request that they vote for the passage of the park-service bill. Our association fills the necessary function of a propaganda agency.

You know as well as I that the Department of the Interior can not be a propaganda agency. Its officers, of course, want this bureau. They realize better than we the folly of giving such meager attention and in such an unsystematic way to such a large proposition as the control of hundreds of thousands of acres of park lands. Surely, the parks have gotten beyond the day when they can receive but the passing attention of a chief clerk. They need the dignified attention of a director who may surround himself with just the kind of experts Mr. Muir has recommended—landscape architects and engineering authorities—who can solve the problems we have discussed this morning. Such a bureau can bring about order and system, and can secure for the parks the appropriations that are necessary.

The association will have another meeting at Washington on November 19, 20, and 21, when again one or two sessions will be devoted exclusively to the subject of the national parks. I wish all of you might be transported to that meeting to take part in and lend your enthusiasm to it. We are not asking legislation for the benefit of any one class of business, for any one railroad or all the railroads put together, or for any concessioners. We are interested in working for the creation and the proper maintenance of the great recreation and playgrounds of all the people. We believe that many of our people in the East are making a serious mistake when they close their eyes to the beauties of the West and set their eyes toward the beauties of the European and Asiatic countries. They will some day of course, go to Europe, but they must not confine their travel in that direction. They must be turned this way, and of course, if turned this way, it is going to be a material gain to the Pacific coast, which is a proper benefit.

I wish that the president of the association might have been here to talk to you as he did last year. He wanted greatly to come and asked me to convey his particular greetings to you. He is backed by our officers and thousands of members in the East and in the West who are as zealous as he for the complete development and further dignifying of our national parks.

Mr. Secretary, there was handed to me at noon to-day, and before I had time to submit it to you, a resolution which it is thought might be passed by this conference recommending the creation of such a bureau, and I submit it to you and ask if it be wise to read it and ask to have it passed.

Believing that the administration of the various national parks and monuments could be conducted with greater efficiency, that they would receive more and more favorable recognition by Congress for their development and maintenance and that there might be brought about a definite, systematic, and continuous policy for their administration: Be it

Resolved, That it is the sense of this conference that there should be created in the Department of the Interior a separate bureau for the conduct of all business pertaining to the national parks and monuments of our country, to be known as the national park service.

The SECRETARY. You have heard the proposed resolution. I think this can be included in the record. Has anyone present any objection to the principle or sentiment expressed in the resolution? If so, we would be glad to have our attention called to the matter and the grounds or reasons for their difference of opinion.

There seems to be no such difference of opinion. If there is none, we have the necessary information.

Now, the next subject that we have before us is the question of the private holdings in the national parks.

Mr. STEEL. Mr. Secretary, before you proceed to that, can I say a word on the question just touched on?

The SECRETARY. Proceed.

Mr. STEEL. Mr. Secretary, the question, I believe, on which we are more united than on any other, is that of the creation of a national park bureau. That was discussed a year ago and I had the privilege of attending the American Civic Association meeting in Washington last year and know the results there. I know the enormous influence it has. It is a very strong factor in working upon the Members of Congress, but an idea has occurred to me that it is possible we might also assist this work very materially. The idea occurred to me last evening, in its crude form, that there might be an organization here for the purpose of getting the Members of Congress from the national park States together. Immediately after that, however, it occurred to me that this is totally impracticable for the reason that it would not do for superintendents of parks to have anything to do with such an organization, and it further occurred to me it would be totally unwise for any concessioner to be identified with any such movement for the reason it would be used against the organization of a national park bureau and prove a detriment. This work might be taken up without any organization by having some one interested take up the work of enlisting the commercial organizations of the national park States, and through them reaching every Member of Congress from a national park State. In that way I think we can carry it through.

Mr. MARTIN. If I am permitted to say anything in response to your inquiry as to differing opinions on the question of the resolution, since Mr. Steel has made this suggestion, if you will permit, I would like to say just a word to you of the strongest indorsement of the plan that Mr. Steel has suggested. When I received an invitation to attend this conference I was gratified, because I felt that I had accumulated in the year and a half of my residence in the West a great deal of valuable information to which the department was properly entitled. Coming here and hearing these matters so thoroughly discussed, gradually my ideas of the importance of my convictions have vanished into thin air. The ideas that I had felt have been formed better by others and expressed more forcibly than I could express them. Mr. Steel suggests a line that I think admirable, and I would say in that connection that the Northwest has joined in a hand-in-hand organization that relates to work for the Mount Rainier National Park, and it seems to me that the spirit and purpose of that organization can properly be extended, and I was mighty glad to find the American Civic Association had taken up this work, and I have the pleasure to-day of joining, for the organizations that I represent, that association, and pledging to its representative here our strongest affiliation and effort that we can put behind his work. I don't know, Mr. Steel, just how this can be brought about, but the organizations of the Northwest, recognizing as we do the tremendous use that lies in these national parks, will be glad to join in that plan and give it all the force that time and money can put behind it.

The SECRETARY. Now we will take up this question of the private holdings in the parks. I think perhaps, Mr. Curtin, we might as well take your matter first—the immediate matter here in hand. Will you please tell us briefly and in a general way what the proposition is, and we will take up anything on the map.

Mr. CURTIN. The question I am interested in personally, as well as one or two of my immediate friends, is the elimination of patented land out of the park, along the north boundary.

The SECRETARY. It seems unfortunate that there is no way of extinguishing them by purchase.

Mr. CURTIN. That is a legal impossibility. Not being able to do that legally, then those who are in the park—holding lands in the park that are bought, paid for, and patented—either ought to have those lands removed from within the park or else be permitted to enjoy them. They ought to be given a fair deal—a square deal. They should let us get out of the park or those of us in the park should be permitted to use what belongs to us.

That is a thing we have not had the enjoyment of for a long time. This park, when created, contained 1,512 square miles of territory. It contained many thousands of acres of patented land, principally on the north and west borders, patented in most instances as timber claims—some homesteads and preemptions, but the large portion was timber land. The park was created the 1st day of October, 1890, and all the balance of the land was set apart from sale or disposition. Acts were subsequently formulated for the management of this park. From 1890 down to about 1903, somewhere along in there, there was no change in the boundary. Since that time there has been three changes in the boundary by act of Congress. One on the north included some more area, while the other two excluded some and took in some, and the result of the last great change which eliminated a large portion of the patented land was the work of a commission appointed by Congress, which I may say I was instrumental in effecting. That commission recommended certain changes and it eliminated very largely the patented lands, but there still remains quite a large body of patented land which it is proposed now, by a bill pending in Congress, to eliminate.

I take it from those who were on the commission whom I have had the good fortune to know, that there was one particular purpose in putting the boundary in that position, and that was to preserve to the Department of the Interior jurisdiction over two groves of big trees, one the Merced Grove on the Coulterville Road, and the other the Tuolumne Grove of Big Trees, and it was desired on the part of the commission to retain jurisdiction over those big trees. Portions of those trees are on patented ground—most of them on vacant ground, but all surrounding them is patented ground. The patent has gone from the Government. The proposed bill now pending to change that boundary still retains that jurisdiction in the office of the Secretary of the Interior, just the same as it is to-day by providing that that particular tract, namely, the SE. 1/4 SE. 1/4 sec. 23, and NE. 1/4 NE. 1/4 sec. 8, already in the Tuolumne Grove of Big Trees, be retained jurisdiction over. Now, that commission made that report and still carrying that object in view there should be no objection to the elimination of the balance of the private holdings.

I want to say, Mr. Secretary, that last summer considerable trouble arose between the men owning the land who endeavored to use them. I know I tried honestly to comply with the rules in that matter. At a meeting of the stockmen's association the plan was discussed as to whether or not the Forest Service would not take it in its boundaries, since there is a rule that when stock granted permission by the Forest Service shall trespass on this land the permit will be canceled. In the discussion the question came up of seeing if we could not get some relief and eliminate those private holdings. Therefore the lines proposed by the original bill as introduced in Congress by Congressman Raker was the result of a conference with the Forest Service in the city of Sonora. When the bill was introduced in Congress the matter was discussed by myself in all its phases before the Public Land Committee and referred to the office of the Secretary of the Interior. Now I think that bill ought to receive favorable consideration and ought to be passed for the reason that there is no way legally under the Constitution of the United States to ever acquire that patented land. Aside from the legal obstacle, which is insurmountable, we have waited patiently for 22 years—since 1890—for the relief we are entitled to, to either be permitted the use of our land or that it be purchased. No man, not even the Government, can divide my land in half.

The SECRETARY. Well, Mr. Curtin, this matter has been examined by Col. Forsyth and I understand reported favorably.

Col. FORSYTH. The report was not unconditionally favorable. It is a matter of record. I haven't anything to add to it or have my views changed on the subject. Under certain conditions, as a last resort, in case in no other way could these lands be eliminated, I am in favor of changing the boundary line.

The SECRETARY. What do you think—that it would be desirable to retain these lands in the park if they could be purchased and Congress would be willing to purchase them?

Col. FORSYTH. Oh, certainly; the present boundary line should not be changed if any other way appears.

The SECRETARY. What particular advantage would it be to the park to include this land Mr. Curtin has described?

Col. FORSYTH. The park boundary lines on the west side run in general terms just outside of two roads, the Big Oak Flat Road on the north side and the Wawona Road on the south. They follow in general very close to the western boundary from north to south. It is extremely desirable for protective purposes of the park that those roads remain on the inside of the boundary.

The SECRETARY. That is only for the purpose of retaining jurisdiction over them?

Col. FORSYTH. Exactly.

The SECRETARY. If that could be done in any other way is there any other reason why we should want to keep this particular property within the park limits?

Col. FORSYTH. That is the principal reason. But if those roads were thrown outside the park by change of boundary lines there we have a road running north and south right close to the boundary line which makes the park accessible for a hundred miles. Should anyone want to step off the road a few miles, they are inside the park. It is a menace. It is a menace principally from fire. All people driving along the road—men are great smokers, they light their pipe and throw down a match. If the road is on the inside of the park, it is patrolled constantly by our men. Our theory of fire protection is that prevention is better than cure. We work much harder to catch a fire when it is small and put it out than after it has a good start. Now, I am opposed in every way possible to any further change in the park boundary lines in the way of diminution if it can possibly be avoided. I have urged in every annual report and every time when it could be brought up for discussion appropriately the extinguishment of foreign title to lands or anything else inside the park. You have two opposing elements right off that shouldn't exist, so that any way to acquire these lands without changing the park boundary line will solve a very vexatious problem.

The SECRETARY. What are they valued at, Mr. Curtin?

Mr. CURTIN. They run up into the millions.

The SECRETARY. On account of timber?

Mr. CURTIN. Yes, sir; and on account of the association of business enterprise. Now, Mr. Secretary, I have many thousands of acres in the lower part of the country. You destroy the value of this and you take that with it.

The SECRETARY. How is that?

Mr. CURTIN. The summer range is one and the winter range is the other. They are a common investment for one common purpose. You destroy one interest or the other; they go together. You will reach up into the millions. I am really afraid to compute the amount of money they represent. I concur with what Col. Forsyth has said. We have waited 22 years for that relief, but it is legally impossible owing to the constitution. Then we ought to get relief that can be given.

The SECRETARY. Have you considered the question of exchanging those lands for other holdings within the national forest outside the park?

Mr. CURTIN. Yes, sir; I have. But there isn't anything in the national forest that you could offer me for those lands.

The SECRETARY. Is that because of personal association?

Mr. CURTIN. Because of the intrinsic value to me. The ranges are all taken—all gone. Now, what are you going to do? I have a good many thousands of dollars invested in that business, and I await the suggestion. For me to exchange would simply mean for me to give up my home and depart from that part of the country, because the valuable lands are not there.

The SECRETARY. Are there not other lands that would be valuable for pasturage up there?

Mr. CURTIN. Yes, sir; but those ranges are all taken by men who entered the land surrounding it. That that has any value has been taken long ago.

The SECRETARY. You don't think that by making up in acreage what is lacking in quality?

Mr. CURTIN. The man who has invested his money in timberland is not interested in pasture. The man has picked it out on account of its value and left what the Government owns because he don't want it.

The SECRETARY. You mean all the valuable timberland as well as the valuable pasture has been picked?

Mr. CURTIN. At that time they got the cream.

The SECRETARY. Therefore, at this time it would be necessary to offer 2 acres for 1. It would have to be of equal value, whether large or small. Would you think it a fair proposition to make up an acreage in the national forest, whether it was twice as much or 10 times as much, that could be exchanged for the land you speak about?

Mr. CURTIN. No, sir.

The SECRETARY. Why not?

Mr. CURTIN. Because I know the whole country in there, and the Government has not got it.

The SECRETARY. Would you not be willing to exchange your holdings for all the rest of the national forest up there if we said we would give you the whole national forest for your holdings?

Mr. CURTIN. The whole national forest is so large I would be unable to take care of it. It would be more trouble than I have got now.

The SECRETARY. I suppose that taking care of these lands is a matter of dollars and cents.

Mr. CURTIN. It is also business to look for land you don't have to take care of yourself.

The SECRETARY. I don't know what you mean. I am saying to you, suppose we give you an amount of acreage of land in a national forest outside of the national park, be that acreage large or small, and give you property of equivalent value to that which you hold in the park?

Mr. CURTIN. First name the place.

The SECRETARY. I just want to get the principle. If we can find the place which, upon fair consideration, is of equal value, would you exchange?

Mr. CURTIN. I am always open to a good bargain, but it has got to be a good one.

The SECRETARY. I think, in view of Maj. Forsyth's report and what you said, the reason you are pushing the bill is because no other reasonable project has been suggested. I am seriously speaking of that because it is being done elsewhere. We are adjusting holdings in national forests and I hope some in national parks. Where private holdings have occurred within a park area, we are trying to arrange for an exchange.

For instance, a man owns 160 acres, taken up as a homestead, as you say. Now, a little later we have created a national park there. Now, we say to this man, "here, we have difficulty in getting Congress to give us cash to buy you out, but we have a considerable amount of land outside of the park but in the national forest, and if we can find a piece of the national forest conveniently located so it can be segregated from the national forest without interfering with its administration, but still of equal value to what you have, we will give you another 160 or 320 acres, which is equivalent in actual value to what you have inside, will you take it?" And he says, "yes"; and we are now exchanging our holdings in national forests in the State of Montana. I mean that private lands in national forests we are exchanging for other public lands in national forests, so as to give the State its group of lands together and give the forest its group of lands together, and I don't know why the same principle might not apply to this if the land is available.

Mr. CURTIN. But the great and enormous value from the timberland makes it impracticable. Then the long and patient waiting—22 years we have waited—if there be no immediate relief afforded, where is the harm coming to the Government by the change of the boundary? When you want police patrol of the road the laws of the State give it. The code affords free use of the roads for military purposes.

The SECRETARY. There may be some difficulty about patroling the roads outside the park being called military service. At all events I think I understand the problem. I appreciate the need of prompt action. This is the first time it has been called to my attention.

Mr. CURTIN. I should like to show you on the map.

The SECRETARY. Col. Forsyth, as I understand it, there are two objections that you have to the bill. First, that you think that all practicable measures to acquire this property by the Government should be first exhausted; and, second, that you are opposed on general principles to any change in the park boundary which eliminates any ground. You want to keep all the area in the park.

Col. FORSYTH. Yes, sir.

The SECRETARY. Well, of course, that second proposition means you want to keep in the park property we don't own if the first proposition is disposed of and no means supplied to buy it.

Col. FORSYTH. I am opposed to any reduction in area of the park if it can possibly be avoided. At the same time I am opposed to retaining in the park any land or anything else in private ownership. I mean by that toll roads.

The SECRETARY. You mean we should do one of two things; either buy the private property or change the park boundaries so as to eliminate it.

Col. FORSYTH. Exactly. I say, as a last resort, in order to get rid of the private land in the park, then I am in favor of changing the park boundary, but only in that case and to that extent.

The SECRETARY. And the real reason, the only real reason, for keeping this property in the park is the more effective control which you think you would have over these roads if the park boundaries remain as they are. There is in addition to that the general reason that we don't want to reduce the park area.

Col. FORSYTH. Yes, sir; that is, of course, a sentimental reason. The practical—the best reason for running the park boundary on the west side was, in addition to retaining the Tuolumne and Merced Big Tree Groves in the park, the additional one of retaining those roads in the park in order that the troops patrolling the park would patrol these roads. If the roads are thrown out the troops remain on the inside of the park to protect it. They can not go on the outside.

The SECRETARY. I am not perfectly clear about that. They may not patrol those roads outside of the park; it might be that we might be able to clear that question up and see if we could not get some joint action as between the State of California and the Federal Government. We might clear it up effectively.

Col. FORSYTH. That simply takes away one of the reasons for changing the boundary.

The SECRETARY. There are no special scenic features or anything of that sort?

Col. FORSYTH. Not specially, in addition to the sentimental reason. We have changed the park boundary lines two or three times in 10 years. We want to reach an end some time.

The SECRETARY. We are going to try to do so.

Col. FORSYTH. My views are in that report. There are reasons for leaving that road inside the park boundary line. Then there wouldn't be any question of jurisdiction between the State of California and the United States or the cooperation of the two Governments in dealing with those roads in view of fire protection. The great enemy of this park and all our national parks now is fire, and the most efficient fire protection I know is efficiency in patrolling—the prevention of fire, rather than putting the fire out after it starts. The simplicity of the patrol work is to have roads and patrol them; that is, under one control. If they are outside we don't have such a control. Before making that report on this subject of the change of the boundary lines—Mr. Secretary will probably remember that it was a long time before he got my report after it was called for—that matter was pondered very deeply, and I haven't anything to add to it or modify or change in that report. Those are still my views.

The SECRETARY. Mr. Marshall, you made an examination of this matter—are familiar with it—have you any views to express?

Mr. MARSHALL. The bill was sent to the Geological Survey, as I had previously made a topographical map of the country, and I agreed with Maj. Forsyth in everything except that they should be eliminated if there was no other way, because I could not give up the thought that that magnificent area of about 50,000 acres of land, of which about 5,000 acres was private property, should not be excluded.

The SECRETARY. As I understand, there has been a great reduction in area. How large a total area is now proposed to be eliminated?

Mr. MARSHALL. The greatest width at any one place is only 2-1/2 miles, and several places it touches the boundary of the park. It is a very small area; about 20 sections of land.

The SECRETARY. Including the private holdings?

Mr. MARSHALL. I don't know, Mr. Secretary. I am in somewhat the same position as Maj. Forsyth. My report is in the department, and I can t see any reason for a change. I might say, however, that when the commission was appointed by Mr. Hitchcock we went into that thing as thoroughly as I believe anybody could. We knew we couldn't satisfy everyone. We left those roads in there for toll purposes and fire protection.

The SECRETARY. Those roads are privately owned roads?

Mr. MARSHALL. Yes, sir; but we can't construct a road to those portions without going to a great deal of expense, without having that much land on both sides of that little panhandle.

The SECRETARY. Well, were we to construct new roads to the Big Trees in addition to those that are now there?

Mr. MARSHALL. We recommended that the private title to lands in the park should be settled in some way.

The SECRETARY. That is, you recommended that it be acquired in some way?

Mr. MARSHALL. Yes, sir.

The SECRETARY. Suppose Congress definitely says we will not buy it and we will not exchange it?

Mr. MARSHALL. I should think your suggestion for the exchange of the land ought to be satisfactory. I don't know if there is any land available.

The SECRETARY. But, supposing we can not acquire the title to this property because Congress will not give us the money to buy with and there isn't any land to exchange, is there anything to do but to eliminate this? I mean, can we go on permanently with this property inside and with the difficulties which arise?

Mr. MARSHALL. I think not.

The SECRETARY. That is the condition, is it, Colonel?

Col. FORSYTH. Yes, sir; the condition is growing intolerable.

Mr. BOND. In connection with clearing the title of these tracts of lands, I don't think anything ought to be done in this matter toward eliminating Mr. Curtin's area in there unless we can include with them all these other areas which are scattered all around throughout one-half of this large park; and whenever you undertake to eliminate any range you have got to eliminate these holdings. I think there is just as much necessity to eliminate these holdings scattered out through the park as those in a position where they can be commercially utilized at the present time.

The SECRETARY. That is not quite true; it is all right as a general principle. There is a difference between a tract of land which runs a little way within the park boundaries and a tract which there is absolutely no way to eliminate.

Mr. BOND. We are going to continue to have private holdings within the park, which will be a nuisance for all times. We want to get rid of all of them.

The SECRETARY. I quite agree with you.

Mr. CURTIN. On that one suggestion that we should use every effort to get Congress to appropriate the money, let me again remind you of our 22 years of patient waiting, and that the Constitution of the United States squarely settles that question.

The SECRETARY. We will meet that legal question when we come to it, as we have met it in the Reclamation Service. Congress can do in a proprietary way what it can not do in a governmental way. We can do a great deal with the proceeds of pubic lands and with moneys received from other sources than taxation. We will not attempt to settle that constitutional question this afternoon.

Mr. CURTIN. I have patiently waited with the other owners of these park lands for the recognition of our rights. We can fence our lands and use it. I don't want to do that. I don't want to string a fence around my land and—

The SECRETARY. We will have to face that issue when we come to it. It is true that you have waited patiently and impatiently, but with a great deal of patience during the past twenty-odd years, and it is true that Congress ought to right it. It is also true that that long waiting without any action is apt to bring the conviction that it is going to be very difficult to get Congress to take any step, but we all realize this, that the national parks occupy a very different position now than they ever did before. We have reached the stage when an agitation for a national park bureau is seriously considered; when bills are introduced in Congress and advocated by prominent and influential members of the two Houses. Under those circumstances I think it is not quite time to give up hope that we can get Congress to face this in a business like way, realizing that you ought to be dealt with and dealt with justly, and that they ought to proceed in a rational and just way. Therefore, it may be that we ought at least to make one more try and see what we can do and consider this question of exchange carefully, and at the same time consider the merits of your proposition so we can make a definite recommendation on the other alternative if that is the one we should accept. I assure you we will give it immediate attention. I have asked Mr. Ucker to call it to my attention immediately I get back to Washington, and when Congress convenes in December, as it will, we will immediately take steps to get it before them.

Mr. CURTIN. And as to the restriction as to the use of these lands in the meantime—

The SECRETARY. What restriction is that?

Mr. CURTIN. With regard to the cattle on our patented land. If they stray over the lines they are run away down one side of a mountain and up another—

The SECRETARY. Would you be willing to herd your cattle there?

Mr. CURTIN. We are doing it all the time, but when they stray off our land they are run off. I think the colonel is only carrying out his orders. It is the rules I complain of.

The SECRETARY. That is the rule governing fencing?

Mr. CURTIN. Yes, sir.

The SECRETARY. What do you say, Colonel, in regard to the proposition of having the cattle herded there and waiving the strict enforcement of the rules—

Col. FORSYTH. That is impracticable.

The SECRETARY. How do you mean?

Col. FORSYTH. We don't know where the lines are.

The SECRETARY. Is there no way of marking them?

Col. FORSYTH. They would have to be marked; the soldiers up there wouldn't know. That is an expensive way. The soldiers there don't know where the dividing lines are between private and public lands.

The SECRETARY. Couldn't that be accomplished by the blazing of trees, so that they would know if the cattle happened to be one side of that line, and thus get a practically reasonable enforcement of the rule regarding grazing—by the blazing of trees showing the boundary line?

Col. FORSYTH. I don't think so.

The SECRETARY. As the thing now stands you think we have got to enforce the rule that Mr. Curtin can not pasture any cattle on his holdings up there unless they are inclosed?

Col. FORSYTH. Yes, sir.

The SECRETARY. Suppose he does inclose. How does that affect the park on the question of access to that part?

Col. FORSYTH. It will not interfere with traveling about through that country.

The SECRETARY. You think the administrative difficulties are such that we ought to make him go to the expense of fencing that land before he can put his cattle on?

Col. FORSYTH. I think as conditions are it is the only practical way. The soldiers do not know that this side is park land and this side Curtin land; blazing is not sufficient mark.

The SECRETARY. But why is it necessary to erect it at once? Is the situation up there so acute? Why can't there be a reasonable adjustment of conditions up there under which we get a substantial compliance with rules?

Col. FORSYTH. We can't change them at the pleasure of one man or another. You have got to give a positive order—one thing or another.

The SECRETARY. But can't you give them an order that if the cattle are outside the land they are to examine the blazed trees, and if they ascertain that they are surely outside the land, then they can take them up—not otherwise? Why can't you put the proposition to the soldier so he can't arrest the cattle unless they are outside the inclosure?

Col. FORSYTH. If the lines or bounds are marked so that the soldiers know which side is private—

The SECRETARY. I say, suppose we blaze those trees up there in a way that is practical—use that kind of marking which is practical, and only that, and then we say to Mr. Curtin, go ahead and herd your cattle up there, and you can say to the soldier if you have reason to believe Mr. Curtin's cattle are outside that line, if you find you are sure they are outside of his land, arrest. Isn't that a practical rule?

Col. FORSYTH. No, sir.

The SECRETARY. Why not?

Col. FORSYTH. There is nothing to herd the cattle on one side or the other.

The SECRETARY. Except Mr. Curtin knowing he will have to herd them so they don't get outside.

Col. FORSYTH. If the soldiers up there are to go and notify Mr. Curtin or his herdsman whenever the cattle have wandered over the line of blazes, that the cattle are outside, why, the soldiers are doing nothing but looking after Mr. Curtin's cattle.

The SECRETARY. If Mr. Curtin don't keep them far enough away after his attention is called to it we will take them up, but I am sure Mr. Curtin will herd those cattle so they are kept with reasonable safety.

Mr. CURTIN. Now, just on that very point—this summer the soldiers patrolling that park drove some cattle off—I say it was on patented land, and they drove those cattle right past my door, right within a few feet of where they could find my man, and they carried them on past my place, and the colonel notified me it is not permissible to tell those men so they could put those cattle in.

The SECRETARY. The rule doesn't give him any discretion. The rule says you have got to fence your land. I can understand very readily how you have had just such experiences as that with the rule reading as it does. Now, the question is whether we can modify the rule, so that you herd your cattle so as to keep them away from the boundary, and we will give you such notice as is reasonable.

Mr. CURTIN. I own that land that runs up to the boundary, and I own on the inside of the boundary, and the Government of the United States charges me pasture on that land, which is vacant, and I say with all due respect I am entitled to go over the land, and I yield a property right that is valuable to me because such is the rule. The colonel has to enforce the rule which is given to him, but I have a quarrel with the source from which that rule comes.

The SECRETARY. This is a peculiar condition. I want to find out if a reasonable modification can be made which, in the first place, you are going to take care of on your side, and which, in the second place, is going to enable the colonel to carry out the substantial purpose of the rule and prevent your cattle straying.

Col. FORSYTH. Another reason why this blazed boundary is impracticable: Mr. Curtin's cattle are not kept off the park land by his fence. If they can't be kept off the park land by a fence, how can they do it with an imaginary line?

The SECRETARY. They can't unless they are herded. I understand Mr. Curtin is willing to herd his cattle.

Col. FORSYTH. He is herding them now. When I have had a bunch of cattle driven 40 or 50 miles down that way, it was because my patience and forbearance were worn out.

Mr. CURTIN. Is there an instance that they didn't put them in when you notified them?

The SECRETARY. You are willing to go there with the representative of the park and mark the boundaries of your land as well as it can be done?

Mr. CURTIN. Yes, sir.

The SECRETARY. I can see that there has been a lot of trouble on both sides. I think if there was approximately as large a number of notices as the colonel states, I can understand why he got out of patience. On the other hand, if the rule has been enforecd with the rigidity it seems to have had I can realize the position you have been in. Suppose, however, that in the meantime the Secretary of the Interior should provide that a certain line fixed by natural boundaries or features shall be the line within which the cattle must be kept.

Col. FORSYTH. I will consider that.

The SECRETARY. Suppose you look into that.

Col. FORSYTH. I would suggest that Mr. Curtin give me a letter giving in detail—

Mr. CURTIN. I will most cheerfully do it.

The SECRETARY. Write him and tell him in detail where such a line could probably be drawn. He may look at it. He may suggest some modifications and send it all down to me and I will look at it.

Mr. CURTIN. I might say in conclusion I am going to insist upon the passage of that bill.

The SECRETARY. You have a right to urge the passage of a bill, certainly.

Mr. CURTIN. I didn't want to be misunderstood.

Mr. ARANT. There are some patented lands included in the Crater Lake National Park, but we are not in any squabble or trouble with anyone concerning it, and I will leave it with your honor to state whether I should discuss that or not.

The SECRETARY. There isn't anyone representing the other side here?

Mr. ARANT. No, sir. I think the best way to present that would be to present it in the form of a communication. I have repeatedly reported the facts and have recommended that title to that land be extinguished or acquired by the Government by purchase.

The SECRETARY. Have you any acute situation of the character we have here?

Mr. ARANT. No, sir.

The SECRETARY. All you are urging is the general policy?

Mr. ARANT. That is all. The land is almost entirely timbered land.

The SECRETARY. We have that question in a great many parks, and I think we understand generally the general principles. I don't think it is necessary to discuss that feature. There was a question in regard to the Sequoia Park that some people are interested in. Are they still here? They not being here, we will take that matter up in the morning. We will have a session in the morning at half past 9 and not have one this evening. We will, then, adjourn until that hour.
Attendees          Cover         Introduction 

14th, October Morning Session 

15th, Morning Session I       -      15th, Morning Session II

15th, Afternoon Session  

16th, Afternoon Session 

After Adjournment  
The Flowers were heard